Maine bill to bring floating offshore wind to US East Coast

The authorities in the US state of Maine have passed a bill advancing the state’s offshore wind industry with the first auctions set for next year.

The bill is now expected to be signed into law by Maine Governor Janet Mills as part of the state’s push to reach 100% clean energy by 2024.

This move was nearly doomed last month after a veto from Governor Mills, but she and certain labour groups were able to reach a compromise and the bill becoming law should now just be a formality.

The bill is also the first step for Maine to become the first East Coast state with a functional floating offshore wind farm.

It calls for Maine to procure 3 GW of offshore wind power generation by 2040, enough to power 900,000 homes and supply half of the state’s total electricity demand. Currently, the federal leasing process is set to begin auctions in late 2024. The additional 3 GW from Maine is supposed to assist the Biden administration’s target of deploying 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035.

The bill also contains provisions to support supply chain development and a construction port on Maine’s coast to be used for turbine assembly. Two other provisions are for a Maine staple – lobster fishing – along with a plan to prioritize jobs for the residents of Maine.

Since waters off Maine are considerably deeper than those previously approved for offshore wind projects, any offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Maine will have to be built entirely using floating wind turbines.

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